A Prose by Any Other feat. Dolan Morgan, Rita Banerjee, Eric Nelson – August 17 * 6-9 pm * Bessie’s Brooklyn

 

Prose by Any Other Reading feat.
+Dolan Morgan+ www.dolanmorgan.com
+Rita Banerjee+ www.ritabanerjee.com
+Eric Nelson+ @waityourabot

Bessie’s (J/M/Z to Myrtle/Broadway)
doors 6pm / reading 7pm

 

Bessie’s is a private studio/reading-room that hosts arts’n’craft, community, literary and acoustic music events and offers a safe-space, refreshments, food, candy, great vinyl, and small press publications. PM Bessie’s for address.
++Yes, please: Respect, Love, Art, Books, Reading, Live Acoustic Music, Vinyl, Green things, Air Conditioning, Safe Place, Refreshments and Snacks ++No, thanks: WIFI, Ruckus, Screens, Loud Conversations (On phones or in person), outside food and beverages.

Featured Writers:

DOLAN MORGAN lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He is the author of two books: That’s When the Knives Come Down (A|P, 2014) and INSIGNIFICANA (CCM, 2016). Publishers Weekly describes his work as “stories that are as bizarre as they are brilliant.” His writing has appeared in The Believer, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, Selected Shorts, and the trash.

RITA BANERJEE is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and teaches at Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich in Germany. She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and her writing appears in Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere. Her poetry chapbook, Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press), received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book of 2011-2012 at the Los Angeles Book Festival, and her novella, A Night with Kali, in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press), released in November 2016. Her debut poetry collection, Echo in Four Beats, which was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award and the Aquarius Press/Willow Books Literature Award, will be released by Finishing Line Press on February 2, 2018. And her edited volume, CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing, will be released by C&R Press on March 7, 2018. She is currently working on a novel, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays.

ERIC NELSON is a writer and cultural critic living in Queens, New York. He is the author of LEVERAGE (King Shot Press, 2015.) Reviews and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Brooklyn Rail, McSweeney’s and other publications.

Rita Banerjee named finalist for 2017 Three Mile Harbor Press Poetry Book Prize

On July 18, 2017, Three Mile Harbor Press announced their winner and finalists for their annual Poetry Book Prize.  Rita Banerjee’s poetry manuscript, “Echo in Four Beats,” was listed as a finalist for the 2017 Three Mile Harbor Poetry Book Prize.  More information about the contest and finalists can be found here.

Echo in Four Beats – poetry debut by Rita Banerjee – forthcoming in February 2018

Combining elements, rhythms, and personas from American jazz, blues, and ragtime, poet Rita Banerjee presents a multi-lingual, modern-day spin on the love story of Echo and Narcissus in her debut full-length poetry collection, Echo in Four Beats.  But in this story, told in four parts, Echo is more than just a fragment, she is a Sapphic voice that speaks, foretells, forestalls, and repeats.  Echo in Four Beats, which was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award, the Three Mile Harbor Poetry Book Prize, and the Aquarius Press/Willow Books Literature Award, will be released by Finishing Line Press on February 2, 2018.  The poetry manuscript will be available for pre-order on Finishing Line Press’s website from October 10 – December 8, 2017.  On Rita Banerjee’s poetry, the following writers have written:

“Rita Banerjee’s poems are an acrobatic music, a swinging erudition, a hip lyric to make shape of Whitman’s ‘ostent evanescent,’ a phrase he uses to conjure the metaphysical projections of the physical world. Banerjee, with thrilling compression and off-beat breaks, fashions a multi-dimensional America…With wit, play, consonance, anagram, assonance, the unexpected rhyme, Banerjee offers, in this short collection, a material, feminist, postcolonial critique of where we are as a nation, what we are made of, what we fail to make, and what we can make of language regardless…’ – Patrick Rosal, author of Brooklyn Antediluvian, My American Kundiman, and Uprock, Headspin, Scramble, and Dive

“’I had no roam / no hope to / call a // road’” writes Rita Banerjee, but I don’t believe her for a second. This is a mobile and hopeful speaker, capable of making her home in a rail car heading out of Manipal just as easily as she inhabits Renoir’s Bougival. Throughout, the worldliness is laced with heartache, in search of “’some solace that would heal the lines / between blue and continent.’” ~ Srikanth Reddy, author of Voyager and Facts for Visitors

“Rita Banerjee’s poems spin the reader into a world of tightly packed imagery that leaves us gasping at the edge of violent endings or floating in wondrous, ancient silences. With lyric intensity, delicacy, and humor, she has the capacity to make places and sounds palpable, taking the reader on a journey from Harlem to the Himalayas. This is a new voice of hypnotizing and rare beauty.” ~ Diana Norma Szokolyai, author of Parallel Sparrows and Roses in the Snow

Character Development & The Law of Desire – Munich Readery Creative Writing Workshop – July 22

Character Development & The Law of Desire
Saturday July 22, 2017 * 9:00 – 12:00

The Munich ReaderyAugustenstraße 104, 80798 München

Femme fatales, gumshoe detectives, star-crossed lovers, wicked stepmothers, wise fools, empathetic anti-heroes: dynamic and archetypal characters can be key to making a good story or lyrical piece tick and pulling in the reader deeper into your creative work. In this workshop, we will discuss how dynamic and archetypal characters can help structure stories, propel narratives forwards, and how each character’s desire provides interesting ethical dilemmas and emotional spectrums to narratives and verse. We will learn about the building blocks of creating strong, unforgettable characters, discuss the connection between desire and plot, and learn how playing with persona can help liberate nonfictional stories and lyrical poems. So if you’re currently working on a short story, novel, screenplay, theatre play, lyrical essay, memoir, or poem which has a strong and unique character at is heart, come stop by the Munich Readery on Saturday July 22 for our next creative writing workshop led by Rita Banerjee.  To register, send an email to John by July 15, 2017 at: store@themunichreadery.com. Workshop Fee: €35.

Revising, Pitching, and Publishing – Munich Readery Creative Writing Workshop – July 9


Revising, Pitching, and Publishing

Sunday July 9, 2017 * 13:00-16:00

The Munich ReaderyAugustenstraße 104, 80798 München

While Allen Ginsberg and the Beats touted the philosophy of “First Thought, Best Thought,” and the merits of spontaneous writing, in this workshop, we’ll explore the role that revision plays in landing the perfect publication deal. We’ll take a look at what it takes to pitch to literary journals, and get that poem, short story, memoir, essay, or play published. We’ll discuss why writers should network, and when writers should look for literary agents, and we will demystify elements of the publishing and creative writing industry at large. In addition, we’ll have some fun with our writing and revisions as well! So if you’re currently working on a short story, novel, screenplay, theatre play, lyrical essay, memoir, or poem which you’d like to revise and published, come stop by the Munich Readery on Sunday July 9 for our next creative writing workshop led by Rita Banerjee.  To register, send an email to John by July 2, 2017 at: store@themunichreadery.com. Workshop Fee: €35.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Munich Creative Writers Workshop – June 23

“Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.
The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.”

~ Theseus, Act V, Scene 1

On Friday June 23 at 6 pm, Rita Banerjee will be teaching a creative writing workshop for Munich Creative Writers inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  For more information on upcoming Munich Creative Writers workshops and meetings, please visit their website here.

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop featured in The Independent (UK)

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted to be featured in the British newspaper, The Independent, in their recent feature article, “World of Books: Ready to Write Your Own Best-seller?”  The article focuses on the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Granada Writing Retreat (Aug 2-6, 2017), and quotes Jennifer Howard’s feature from The Washington Post:

You’ve spent too many summers reading novels, isn’t it about time you started to write one yourself.  Jennifer Howard selects the best of the world’s writing retreats:

Summer in Granada is part of a series of retreats created by writers Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai. They describe their retreat model as a kind of roving salon, with previous sessions in Paris and at a chateau in Picardy, among its envy-inducing locations. “All of these places have a very alive and electric culture, a culture that exists on the streets, in the imagination,” Banerjee says.

To read the complete article, please visit the The Independent’s British edition here.  Applications and scholarships for our Summer in Granada Writing Retreat (Aug 2-6, 2017) are open until June 20, 2017.  Please apply at cww.submittable.com.

Granada2017PosterJune6 copy

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Granada, Spain Writing Retreat featured in The Washington Post

Original illustration by Lisk Feng for The Washington Post

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted to be chosen as one of the six best writing retreats for the summer in The Washington Post‘s recent feature, “When You’re Ready to Move from Summer Writing to Summer Reading.”  In the article, journalist Jennifer Howard writes:

Your boss doesn’t care if you finish your novel. Your partner would rather not hear about the memoir you’ve been threatening to write. Feeling discouraged? It may be time to escape the creativity-quashing grind and reconnect with your muse in a lovely locale.

Whether you like Midwestern lakes or Icelandic hot springs, there’s a writers retreat for you. Here are half a dozen programs where you can spend quality time with your journal or get started on the next bestseller:

For culture connoisseurs

If tapas and flamenco are more your thing, the Summer in Granada retreat, sponsored by the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, promises a warm cultural bath: “Let the old city stimulate your writing with its winding streets, Moorish history, and evocative landscapes,” the website says.

Summer in Granada is part of a series of retreats created by writers Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai. They describe their retreat model as a kind of roving salon, with previous sessions in Paris and at a chateau in Picardy, among its envy-inducing locations. “All of these places have a very alive and electric culture, a culture that exists on the streets, in the imagination,” Banerjee says.

This summer, participating writers will enjoy an “experiential tour” alongside workshops and writing sessions. Fiction writer Tim Horvath will teach a “writing from the senses” class that includes a visit to a “museum of smells,” a visit to a chocolatier and a tapas tour. “No matter how intellectual writing gets, you always want to draw in the senses and immerse the reader,” he says. (Did we mention chocolate?)

Cost/duration: $2,950; four nights. Some scholarships available.

To read the complete article, please visit the The Washington Post website here.  Print versions of the article will be available on June 11, 2017.

Applications and scholarships for our Summer in Granada Writing Retreat (Aug 2-6, 2017) are open until June 20, 2017.  Please apply at cww.submittable.com.

Mad Heart Be Brave now available from the University of Michigan Press!

Born and raised in Kashmir, Agha Shahid Ali (1949–2001) came to the United States in the mid-1970s to pursue graduate study in literature; by the mid-1980s, he had begun to establish himself as one of the most important American poets of the late 20th century.  Mad Heart Be Brave: On the Poetry of Agha Shahid Ali is the first comprehensive examination of all stages of his career, from his earliest work published in India but never reissued in the U.S., through his seven poetry volumes from American publishers, ultimately collected as The Veiled Suite.  Contributors to this volume include Sejal Shah, Rita Banerjee, Amanda Golden, Ravi Shankar, Abin Chakraborty, Amy Newman, Christopher Merrill, Jason Schneiderman, Stephen Burt, Raza Ali Hassan, Syed Humayoun, Feroz Rather, Dur e Aziz Amna, Mihaela Moscaliuc, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Mahwash Shoaib, Shadab Zeest Hashmi, Grace Schulman, and Ada Limón. Mad Heart Be Brave closes with a long biographical sketch and elegy by Agha Shahid Ali’s friend Amitav Ghosh and a comprehensive bibliography assembled by scholar Patricia O’Neill with Reid Larson.

In her essay, “Between Postindependence and the Cold War: Agha Shahid Ali’s Publications with the Calcutta Writers Workshop,” Rita Banerjee writes:  “In 1958, editor, critic, translator, and poet P. Lal established the English-language creative writing group the Writers Workshop in Kolkata. The Writers Workshop helped launch the careers of many well-known English-language South Asian authors, such as Anita Desai, Bharati Mukherjee, Vikram Seth, A. K. Ramanujan, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, and Agha Shahid Ali. As an editor, P. Lal was a key figure in establishing the relevance and necessity of Anglophone South Asian writing in the postindependence period. His seminal work, Modern Indian Poetry in English: The Writers Workshop Selection, an Anthology & a Credo (1969) served as a manifesto for the function and viability of Indian English literature in the postindependence period and featured one of Agha Shahid Ali’s most dystopian and memorable poems, “Lunarscape.” In the poem Ali not only critiqued the rivalry between the United States and the USSR during the Cold War but also presented the recent American moon landing as a neocolonial and self-destructive move. After the publication of “Lunarscape,” Agha Shahid Ali went on to publish his first and second collections of poems, Bone-Sculpture (1972) and In Memory of Begum Akhtar (1979) with P. Lal’s Writers Workshop. Ali’s first collection, Bone-Sculpture, featured several poems that reflected his response to the postindependence and postpartition realities of South Asia, his own conflicted feelings over his divided home state of Kashmir, and poems that responded to the Cold War, cultural revolutions, and other global political events of the time and captured Ali’s own experiences of immigration…”  To read the full essay, please order Mad Heart Be Brave: On the Poetry of Agha Shahid Ali from the University of Michigan Press here.

Summer in Granada, Andalucía, Spain Writing Retreat – June 20, 2017 Deadline


The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s Summer in Granada Writing Retreat will take place from August 2-6, 2017. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucía, Granada is one of the gems of Spain and has inspired writers from Washington Irving to Salman Rushdie to Ali Smith. Let the old city stimulate your writing with its winding streets, Moorish history, and evocative landscapes. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucía, Granada is one of the gems of Spain and has inspired writers from Washington Irving to Salman Rushdie to Ali Smith. Let the old city stimulate your writing with its winding streets, Moorish history, and evocative landscapes. The retreat offers multi-genre workshops, as well as craft seminars and time to write. The faculty includes award-winning writers Tim Horvath, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. Genres include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.  To apply, please submit an application at http://cww.submittable.com by June 20, 2017.

Schedule of Classes:

Character Development & the Law of Desire (with Rita Banerjee)

Femme fatales, gumshoe detectives, star-crossed lovers, wicked stepmothers, wise fools, empathetic anti-heroes: dynamic and archetypal characters can be key to making a good story or lyrical piece tick and pulling in the reader deeper into your creative work. In this workshop, we will discuss how dynamic and archetypal characters can help structure stories, propel narratives forwards, and how each character’s desire provides interesting ethical dilemmas and emotional spectrums to narratives and verse. We will learn about the building blocks of creating strong, unforgettable characters, discuss the connection between desire and plot, and learn how playing with persona can help liberate nonfictional stories and lyrical poems. 

Writing from the Senses (with Tim Horvath)

Memorable writing often engages the senses first and foremost, immersing us in a character’s perceptions and sensations, and thus allowing us to dwell inside that character’s perspective. In this class, we’ll strive to make our writing more wholly and richly embodied by engaging the senses directly, building our abilities to depict each individually like a muscle group, and eventually intertwining them in synesthesia for the fullest effect. We explore each of the senses in turn by looking at exemplary instances where a writer is able to conjure the sense effectively.  We’ll take focused walks, taste local foods, do ekphrastic writing in museums, and attempt to capture sounds from that of traffic to flamenco guitar to the idiosyncratic grain of the individual human voice in multiple languages. This class also cuts across genres, shifting seamlessly between poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, grounding each in an embodied experience of the world. When we travel abroad, our senses are generally enlivened to begin with, and so you can think of this class as a way to translate that enhanced awareness into equally vivid words on the page.

The Storyteller’s Voice (with Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich)

Of all types of prose, personal narrative is perhaps the most inherently voice-driven. After all, the reader is essentially choosing to spend a lot of time with you, the author. Too often, the writer’s desire to be relatable on the page results in a watered-down, bland voice, when a distinctive voice is what’s needed to keep the reader engaged. (As V.S.Pritchett put it, in memoir, you get no credit for the living—it’s all in how the living’s told.) So how can you find—and sharpen—your narrative voice? Will it be crisp like Didion’s? Humorously exaggerated like Sedaris’s? Lyrically gritty like Ballantine’s? We’ll look at exceptional examples of voice in memoir and personal essays, and diagnose what makes them so successful. We’ll discuss ways to identify and amplify whatever yours is, working to make it even more distinctive. Come prepared with an essay or chapter draft to work on.

Leyendo Intensamente: Writers Reading Spanish/Latin American Literature in Translation (with Tim Horvath)

It is a given that writers must learn to read closely, with attention to nuance and craft, to unravel the methods by which other writers have managed to tell stories effectively and adapt them for their own purposes. In this class, we’ll focus on writers in Spanish and Portuguese, from canonical authors like Borges, Marquez, Valenzuela, Cortázar, and Lispector to contemporary luminaries and up-and-comers such as Eduardo Halfon, Valeria Luiselli, Javier Marías, and Laia Jufresa. We’ll swerve through techniques of developing metafiction and surrealism, magical realism, and philosophical fiction, and blending these with realism where suitable. We’ll also explore the fraught, infinitely rich topic of translation, discussing its complexities really and the ways that understanding the innumerable decisions involved in bringing a work into another language can shed light on the act of “translating” any experience or concept from mind or world onto the page, i.e. writing itself.

Life Isn’t A Book Structure: Strategies for Shaping Memoir (with Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich)

Even the wildest life, recounted straightforwardly from memory, will suffer from what Sven Birkerts calls “the coma-inducing effect of ‘and then.’” Good memoirists know this. So they reach into literature’s bag of tricks and find other ways to keep the pages turning: they speed time up in some places and slow it down in others; they layer two or more threads; or perhaps they find a structure that helps evoke the book’s meaning. All these considerations are part of shifting from thinking about your life as a life to thinking about the book as a book. But how can aspiring memoirists ready themselves to make that leap? In this session we’ll discuss strategies and approaches, as well as break down the choices made by a few published memoirists as they turned memory into literature. Then we’ll do a few exercises to help free you to do the same with your own material, turning life into art.

Featured Faculty:

tim_horvath_authorphotoTim Horvath is the author of Understories (Bellevue Literary Press), which won the New Hampshire Literary Award, and Circulation (sunnyoutside). His stories have appeared in Conjunctions, Fiction, The Normal School, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. His story “The Understory” won the Raymond Carver Short Story Award, and “The Conversations” earned a Special Mention in the 2014 Pushcart Prize Anthology; he is also a recipient of a Yaddo Fellowship. He teaches in the BFA and low-residency MFA programs at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, where he coordinates the Visiting Writers Series. He is currently at work on The Spinal Descent, a novel about contemporary classical composers, as well as a second short story collection.

 

Alexandria-Marzano-Lesnevich_MACD-15-201_414

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich’s first book, THE FACT OF A BODY: A Murder and a Memoir, is forthcoming from Flatiron Books (Macmillan) in May 2017, as well as from publishers internationally. The book layers a memoir with an investigation into, and recreation of, a 1992 Louisiana murder and death penalty case. For her work on the book, Marzano-Lesnevich received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Rona Jaffe Award, and has twice been a fellow at both MacDowell and Yaddo. Other scholarships and fellowships received include those from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Millay Colony for the Arts, Blue Mountain Center, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Studios at Key West, Vermont Studio Center, and the Alice Hayes Fellowship for Social Justice Writing from the Ragdale Foundation. Her essays appear in The New York Times, Oxford American, Iowa Review, Hotel Amerika, The Rumpus, and the anthologies True Crime and Waveform: Twenty-First Century Essays by Women, among many other publications, and were recognized “notable” in Best American Essays 2013, 2015, and 2016. She was educated at Harvard (JD), Emerson College (MFA), and Columbia University (BA) and now teaches at Grub Street, a nonprofit writing center in Boston, and in the graduate public policy program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

ritabanerjeeRita Banerjee is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and teaches at Rutgers University.  She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and her writing appears in Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of BooksElectric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere. Her first collection of poems, Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press), received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book of 2011-2012 at the Los Angeles Book Festival, and her novella, A Night with Kali, in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press), released in November 2016. Finalist for the 2015 Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award and the 2016 Aquarius Press Willow Books Literature Award, she is currently working on a novel, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays.

DianaNormaDiana Norma Szokolyai is a writer and Executive Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. She is author of the poetry collections Parallel Sparrows (honorable mention for Best Poetry Book in the 2014 Paris Book Festival) and Roses in the Snow (first runner-­up Best Poetry Book at the 2009 DIY Book Festival). She also records her poetry with musicians and has collaborated with several composers. Her poetry-music collaboration with Flux Without Pause led to their collaboration “Space Mothlight” hitting #16 on the Creative Commons Hot 100 list in 2015, and can be found in the curated WFMU Free Music Archive. Szokolyai’s work has been recently reviewed by The London Grip and published in Quail Bell Magazine, Lyre Lyre, The Fiction Project, The Boston Globe, Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure, The Dudley Review and Up the Staircase Quarterly, as well as anthologized in The Highwaymen NYC #2, Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History, Always Wondering and Teachers as Writers. Szokolyai earned her Ed.M. in Arts in Education from Harvard University and her M.A. in French Literature from the University of Connecticut, while she completed coursework at the Sorbonne and research on Romani writers in Paris. She is currently at work on three books and recording an album of poetry & music.

applyDeadline: June 20, 2017